HOSPITAL staff hoping for a pay rise have rejected a “derisory” offer of two per cent.

Some of the lowest paid staff in the hospital employed as cleaners, porters and caterers have missed out on an NHS pay rise because they are employed by a subsidiary company of the hospital trust.

Staff in the union UNISON have started negotiating with their employer, iFM Bolton in the hopes of gaining a pay rise worth around £2,000.

Tim Ellis, UNISON regional organiser said: “Staff in our hospitals have been underpaid for so long that they now need a £2,000 increase just to get out of poverty pay.

“That’s what has been agreed nationally. But hospital bosses in Bolton are offering just £300. This pay offer is derisory and would leave staff in poverty pay.

“The offer does not address the central injustice of hospital staff in Bolton getting less than elsewhere just because they have the misfortune to work for a wholly-owned subsidiary.”

This year NHS staff across the country received a pay rise, they are employed on a contract known as Agenda for Change.

Those staff on band one saw their pay rise to £8.92 an hour, and will go up to £9.89 an hour over two years. The first rise is at the end of this year.

iFM staff have remained on £7.83 an hour, with the exception of catering assistants who have had the initial pay rise but are seeking the additional incremental pay rises.

Previously the hospital trust has said the new Agenda for Change pay structure is not directly transferable to iFM staff but that it was working to determined an appropriate rise.

Staff are considering strike action and the result of a ballot of union members is expected today.

The offer of two per cent was made last week and at union meetings staff have unanimously said this is not good enough says UNISON.

The government has put up a £800 million pot to fund the Agenda for Change pay rise which trusts can take advantage of. For wholly-owned subsidiaries if trusts apply the Agenda for Change terms they can apply to this fund.

Mr Ellis added: “We are dismayed that the trust and iFM have still not even applied for the funding available from central government to finance the full increase.

“Staff just want what they are due.

“The nationally-agreed pay rates would at least mean that all staff get a living wage.

"That is the very least that hospital staff should expect. Bolton’s health bosses need to act now and ensure that staff get the pay rise they need and deserve.”

Discussions with the union went on into late afternoon yesterday.

A spokesman for iFM Bolton said: “We held further discussions with union representatives yesterday and these are ongoing so we are not currently in a position to make any comment.”

Earlier this month UNISON members lobbied the iFM board during their board meeting.

Bolton North East MP David Crausby has lent his support to the union members continuing to voice his opposition of wholly-owned subsidiary companies which he says are a back-door to NHS privatisation.